Mumbai Illegal Hoarding Collapse: Owner Booked In Rape Case, Fined 21 Times In Past

New Delhi: It has been revealed that the owner of the illegal hoarding, which collapsed on the petrol pump in the Ghatkopar area of Mumbai on Monday following gusty winds and rain leading to 14 deaths so far, was booked in a rape case by the Mumbai police earlier this year.

The place where the hoarding collapsed, comes under the jurisdiction of the Pant Nagar police. It registered a FIR against Bhavesh Prabhudas Bhinde, 51, the director of Ego Media Pvt Ltd, which had the contract for the hoarding on a 10-year lease, The Indian Express reported.

As per court documents, a rape and molestation case was registered against Bhinde at the Mulund police station on January 24 this year but the Bombay High Court eventually granted him anticipatory bail. “A rape case was registered against him. A chargesheet has already been filed in the matter,” said Ajay Joshi, Senior Inspector, at Mulund Police Station was quoted as saying.

What’s more, Bhinde, who contested as an Independent candidate in the 2009 Maharashtra Assembly elections, had then declared 21 instances where he was fined under the Mumbai Municipal Corporation (MMC) Act for putting up banners without permission and two offences related to the Negotiable Instruments (NI) Act that usually pertain to cheque bouncing. Apart from this, as per submissions he made while contesting the 2009 Assembly polls in Maharashtra from Mulund, Bhide declared he had been charged under sections 328 (putting hoarding without permission) and 471 (fines) of the MMC Act on 21 occasions and had two cases under the NI Act. The status of the cases is unclear.

In the latest FIR registered against him at the Pant Nagar police station on Monday night in connection with the Mumbai hoarding collapse incident, he was charged under sections 304 (culpable homicide), 338 (causing grievous hurt), 337 (causing hurt by negligent act), 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), according to the report.

Notably, The Ghatkopar hoarding, situated beside a petrol pump at Pant Nagar on the Eastern Express Highway (EEH) measured 120 x 120 as against the permitted size of 40 x 40 feet.

On Monday, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) chief Bhushan Gagrani said the Ghatkopar hoarding was illegal as the civic body had not permitted erecting it. “The location where the incident occurred has four hoardings set up on the Railway land and one of them has collapsed. The BMC had been objecting to (setting up) hoardings for one year,” Gagrani was quoted as saying.

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